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February 01, 2012

Burma's Aung San Suu Kyi Postpones Political Rally

Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi has postponed a political trip to the central city of Mandalay because she could not get permission to hold a campaign rally at a local football stadium.

A spokesman for the Nobel laureate's National League for Democracy party said party organizers followed instructions from elections officials for securing the stadium on Saturday. But he said local football officials, after several days of negotiations, told party organizers the stadium would be closed for government inspections.

"Yesterday [Wednesday], I told the football federation since we are running short of time to give us an answer. Then we were told the Ba Htoo stadium is not available as it will be closed for inspection by authorities," said U Ohn Kyaing.

He also said he expected the Mandalay rally to take place at a later date, as Suu Kyi steps up her campaign for public office in April by-elections.

Analysts say the failure to obtain the venue could slow an ongoing reconciliation process between Suu Kyi and her followers, and the nominally civilian government which took power last year.

President Thein Sein has pressed forward with a series of reforms in recent months and promised free and fair elections in April.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.